Completing its undefeated run through the Four Rivers Conference, the Union soccer Lady ’Cats dominated St. Clair Tuesday afternoon at Union Middle School, 9-0.
Union (15-3, 7-0) put the game out of reach early with three goals in just over 15 minutes to start the game.
But the big run came during a stretch of just over five minutes late in the first half. Union scored five times to take an 8-0 lead at the intermission.
“That was crazy,” Union Head Coach Matt Fennessey said. “That came around the time we switched up players. We always want to make sure we play hard during the first five or 10 minutes of each half and in the last five or 10 minutes of each half. It was nice to see. We showed good movement of the ball and we were using the corners.”
During the second half, Union added one more goal while using its players in a variety of different positions. Fennessey used a number of younger players as well, giving them extensive playing time in the contest.
And that helped Union to reach a benchmark when Briana Lakebrink, who normally plays in goal, scored in the 53rd minute.
“We worked hard on getting her a goal,” Fennessey said. “We kept feeding her the ball and she cracked one in. We wanted to make sure she got a goal. She was the last one on our regular roster to score a goal this season. You look at other teams and they’ve got players who go 80 minutes a night and haven’t scored. That shows how our girls play as a team.”
St. Clair Head Coach Ted Koenigsfeld gave Union credit.
“Union is a very good team. There’s a reason why they have so many wins. It’s not because of one girl. They have a lot of talented players,” Koenigsfeld said. “We played hard for the first 20 minutes and then hit a speed bump and hung our heads a little. We played better in the second half.”
Union honored its four seniors prior to the match. Being recognized were Abbie Brack, Alicia Brueggemann, Alyssa Coons and Lakebrink.
Union got two goals and three assists from Kaylyn Bigley.
Taylor Gaebe scored twice and netted the game winner.
Kayla Thornton put in two goals as well.
Bethany Coons scored once and set up teammates for three other goals.
Brack and Lakebrink scored one goal apiece. Brueggemann assisted on a goal.
Lakebrink played the first half in goal for Union while Natalie Helling stood between the pipes for the second half. Neither one made a save in sharing the shutout.
Sam Deason played all 80 minutes in goal for St. Clair (9-14-2), making a number of saves. She also received help from the defense, which cleared at least a couple of balls off the line.
Union opened scoring just 3:21 into the contest. Gaebe knocked the ball into the goal after St. Clair couldn’t clear it.
Union added its second goal 9:30 into the contest. Bethany Coons made the play by making a run at the net and then passing it over to Thornton, who was able to score.
The Lady ’Cats got another goal 15:05 into the game when Bigley knocked in a rebound.
It was just over 17 minutes later before Union scored again.
Bigley scored her second goal with Bethany Coons assisting.
The goal 32:09 into the game started a five goal flurry in 5:22.
At 33.27, Thornton converted off her own rebound to make it 5-0.
Less than two minutes later, Brack scored after a corner kick, knocking the ball into the goal after the ball was crossed to the far post.
Union continued its surge 36:17 into the game. Bethany Coons scored her lone goal on a burst up the middle, beating Deason.
Union capped the first half with a goal 37:31 into the half. Gaebe netted her second goal with Bethany Coons assisting.
Up 8-0 at the intermission, Fennessey moved players around. The Coons sisters went back to central defense while Lakebrink moved from goalie to forward.
Just over 12 minutes into the second half, Lakebrink scored her goal. Brueggemann knocked the ball into the area. After St. Clair could not stop or clear it, Lakebrink knocked it into the goal.
Lakebrink appeared to get another goal less than a minute later. She knocked the ball in at the back post following a cross from the right side, but offsides was called and the game continued through to the full 80 minutes.
Union only played seven of its eight scheduled games in the league this season due to weather and wet field conditions. A second game against St. James was called off.